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How to have good sleep hygiene?

  • June 10, 2024
  • 7 Min
  • 7

Many of you complain about sleep problems that affect your daily life, let’s see together what sleep is and how to maintain good hygiene.

Sleep is a recurrent state of loss of consciousness (but without loss of sensory reception) of the outside world, accompanied by a progressive decrease in muscle tone, occurring at regular intervals. The sleep-wake alternation corresponds to one of the fundamental cycles in animals belonging to the circadian rhythm. In humans, sleep takes up almost a third of life on average.

Sleep is distinguished from unconsciousness (or coma) by the preservation of reflexes and the ability of the sleeping person to open their eyes and respond to speech and touch. There is an organization of sleep and its three states. It is a question of circadian cycle for the alternation between wakefulness and sleep. It is a question of the Ultradian cycle for the alternation between slow-wave sleep and paradoxical sleep.

Sleep has several functions:


The human body physically restores itself during sleep, healing itself and eliminating waste that accumulates during periods of activity.

-Cognitive functions

Sleep participates in memory processes. Procedural memory benefits from late sleep phases, rich in paradoxical sleep. Explicit memory benefits from early sleep phases, rich in slow waves.

-Tissue restoration

Sleep plays a crucial role in tissue restoration and injury repair.


During sleep, particularly REM sleep, individuals tend to have dreams. Dreams can include sensations of all types, especially vision and movement.

Needs vary according to age and the degree of fatigue induced by daytime activities.

The average adult needs eight hours of sleep per night.

Certain lifestyle habits, during the day or evening, can disrupt sleep (insomnia, hypersomnia).

Changing these factors can help you get better sleep.

-Do not consume caffeinated beverages (tea, coffee, soda, Coca-Cola) within four to six hours before bedtime. On the other hand, taking a hot, non-caffeinated drink (for example, herbal tea) can help you fall asleep.

-Avoid smoking at bedtime and when waking up at night.

Nicotine is a stimulant. Smoking at the time of nocturnal awakenings increases these awakenings.

-Avoid alcohol with the evening meal. Alcohol is a depressant that can help you fall asleep, but it fragments sleep and thus promotes nighttime awakenings.

-Keep your bedroom quiet and dark. Your bed and bedroom should be comfortable to promote sleep.

Avoid extreme temperatures in the bedroom.

-The human body constantly regulates its temperature at a stable level (37°C). If the external temperature is too hot or too cold, the physiological reactions necessary to maintain this temperature can disrupt sleep.

The ideal room temperature is 18-19°C.

-Put aside the problems of the past day and those that remain to be resolved, well before bedtime.

Ruminating thoughts at bedtime leads to brain activation and sometimes anxiety, which prevents you from falling asleep. Write down in a notebook your concerns, the things you still need to resolve and plan what you need to do for the next day.

-Prefer a light dinner, but don’t go to bed hungry.

A diet rich in slow carbohydrates promotes sleep.

-Practice regular physical activity in the late afternoon or early evening.

Sport promotes falling asleep, reduces nighttime awakenings and increases slow-wave sleep (the most restorative). However, be careful, it should not be practiced within 4 hours before going to bed.

-Place your alarm clock so that you cannot see it.

Watching the hours pass promotes anxiety and frustration, which constitute obstacles to falling asleep.

-Promote relaxing activities at least 1 hour before bed to prepare for sleep. Physical and moral relaxation promotes falling asleep. Conversely, cerebral activities that stimulate the brain delay it.

Dr. Schaïdhen CHÉRY. General practitioner…

Our health is our greatest wealth,

Let’s make sure we protect it!

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